Seabourn Legend Crossing. March 2005. A review by CruiserDan
This was a trans-Atlantic crossing. We left St. Thomas USVI, and cruised the Atlantic Ocean to Lisbon, Portugal. We had one stop in Madeira, Spain. St. Thomas is a beautiful Caribbean Island, with lovely restaurants, beautiful beaches and plenty of duty-free shopping. We arrived a day prior to the cruise, and stayed at the Marriott Frenchman's Reef hotel.
We boarded the Legend the next day at 1:45PM, and prepared for 8 sea days. On the 9th day, we had a port-of-call in Madeira, Spain. Most of the ship enjoyed the Seabourn Experience, high tea at the famous Reed's hotel. As I had experienced this excursion on another Seabourn cruise, I decided to forego the trip to Reed's. We were on our own, and decided to take the sky ride to the top of hill to enjoy vast views and vistas of the city. Some of our fellow cruisers decided to take the "street toboggans" down the steep hilly streets of Madeira.
On the last morning of our crossing, we arrived in Lisbon, Portugal. The people, as the city are lovely. We stayed at the Pentana Palace Hotel, and enjoyed a very rare upgrade to the Royal Suite. Lisbon is definitely a destination city. The vast big-city shopping district boasts beautiful clothing at reasonable prices. (Even with the dollar so weak) We visited the quaint town of Sintra, where the weather was cool, and the food was excellent. Crossings aren't for people that must get off the ship everyday or love to shop. Crossings are for people that want to relax, socialize and enjoy the pampering of being on a first class cruise ship.
I will start with Geir-A. Thue-Nilsen, the Captain of the Legend. In my opinion, he is the very best Captain on the high seas today. He has a quality about him that oozes professionalism and respect, while offering warmth and friendship to all he meets. He loves his work, but also loves to play. From participating in fun and games with the passengers, to offering a sincere "see you soon" at the bottom of the gangplank while guests are disembarking. I look so very forward to sailing with him in the near future. The restaurant staff, including Jan, Zoltan(s), Johanna, were outstanding, as the Maitre d', Luca and the assistant Maitre d' (name escapes me) were fantastic. Always service with a smile, friendly greetings and a welcoming feeling. The bar staff were also excellent. Slavo in the Sky Bar, and Macjic in the Club. 4 other "gold stars" go to the public rooms manager, Steven, the Hotel Manager Guenther, the head of the Housekeeping Department Lill, and the stewardess Christine. Although Christine was not our stewardess this trip, we enjoyed her comradery as a friend. The only weak link we experienced was the Staff Purser. A group of us decided that it would be nice to throw a crew party one evening. We discussed it with the Staff Purser, who was to arrange the party, and split the cost between our group. The party (barbecue) was not well received by the crew, as it was very last-minute. We were not told of it until after it had already begun. As the crew had no idea that our group threw the party, it was extremely uncomfortable when we greeted the crew who were there. The Staff Purser promised another party on another night, but it never happened. Service all around would be a perfect 10, had we not pursued the crew party.
The Cruise Director, Eric DeGray was simply fabulous. His keen singing voice, his warm demeanor and his striking looks make him a stand-out in the cruise industry. Seabourn had better make sure they take very good care of him, as he is a huge asset to have on any cruise ship. He was joined by Michelle and a new-comer. The latter was a bit weak compared to Eric and Michelle. I hope she has the opportunity to improve as her contract continues. If a glitzy show and non-stop entertainment is what you look for in a cruise, Seabourn is not for you. The entertainment is often low-key, high quality and intimate.
Our crossing was sold-out, with 197 passengers on board. The ship sparkled from stem to stern, with the exception of the front deck with Jacuzzi. This area was being re-done during our trip.
Enjoying 107 days on Seabourn, I can honestly say that the food was the most outstanding on this cruise. The food wasn't as salty as previous cruises, or as rich. Sashimi tuna was offered on several occasions, as were staples lobster, filet and caviar. For a cruise ship to be consistent in the quality of ingredients, recipes and quantity is quite an accomplishment. Hats off to the chef!
A cruise line can only do so much to accomplish a true 6 star vacation. Truly the passengers can enhance or diminish your experience. For the majority, the passengers were well-heeled travelers, and very friendly. There were one or two passengers that didn't seem to fit in the Seabourn "family". Complaining, hurtful comments, and snobbishness seemed to be their mode of operation. I truly hope they enjoyed their Seabourn experience, if they didn't, it was nobody's fault but their own. I had the pleasure to finally meet (and identify) Bldsld, Daneite, and CruiserMatt. I enjoyed another cruise with CeeJay11, Drs S and P, Kit, John, Joanne, Kelly, Phil and many new friends.
This was a great cruise, filled with many memories of friends, fine dining, and gracious service. The only downfall of this crossing was losing hours day after day. It became a bit tiresome, and the jet-lag after the cruise was brutal. The crossing in November will offer the opposite, starting in Tenerife and gaining hours to Ft. Lauderdale. I am already booked, along with many of my fellow Seabournites. I hope you enjoyed my review.